Fans are among the earliest accessories because they perform a critical function. In the days before air conditioning, the cool breeze created by a fan came as welcome relief. Far from purely functional, fans became highly ornamented and beautiful. Over the centuries and across continents, a number of different basic forms of fans developed. This exhibition explores these different shapes and styles. From hand-painted rococo designs of the eighteenth century to celluloid, art deco pieces from the twentieth century, the variations are remarkable and stunning. Approximately fifty fans spanning three centuries will fill the Alumni Gallery.
September 28, 2012 - September 1, 2013
Broadbent Gallery | Jean L. Druesedow
The defining characteristic of any fashion period is the shape of the silhouette. Shape is largely determined by what is worn underneath the fashionable garment and next to the skin. Why silhouettes have often had so little to do with the shape of the human body is one of the mysteries of fashion. It is influenced by economic, political and social circumstances as well as attitudes toward sexuality and the ever-present desire for novelty. In this exhibition undress includes not only the garments that give the body structure and shape, but also garments worn at night, at home and in informal situations. These are the garments that reveal and shape private life.
April 6, 2012 - June 9, 2013
Stager and Blum Galleries | Sara Hume, Curator
Cultures around the world have developed an array of resist dye techniques. Dyeing provides rich colors but once the fabric has been colored in a dark shade, lighter color patterns will not show up. In order to allow lighter colors to come through, areas have to be blocked from receiving dye. Any of these techniques of blocking the dye are referred to as a “resist.” Sometimes these techniques have arisen independently; sometimes the techniques have been passed across cultures through trade and exchange. In many cases the origins have been lost to time, leaving only rich and remarkable textile traditions. Resist techniques can be seen in the most expensive and treasured textiles, but also in relatively humble objects.
The exhibition is organized by technique in order to bring together examples from around the globe. The objects are grouped into three main categories of resist methods: mechanical, chemical and ikat. While specific techniques may vary widely, they rely on a few basic principles. The dye can be resisted using mechanical means by tying, stitching or folding. Alternately the resist can be chemical, generally paste or wax. The third category, ikat, refers to textiles in which the resist is applied to the threads before weaving. Ikat is generally a mechanical resist technique in which the threads are wrapped and bound.
Shibori, bandhani, tie-dye
Tie-dye is a technique that has become familiar to many Americans because of brightly colored T-shirts popular in the 1960s and '70s. The technique of tying off sections of cloth or garments before treating it with dye has been around for centuries. Japan and India are among the many parts of the world with long traditions of tie-dye. While most of the examples of mechanical resist techniques in the collection are variations of tying and binding with thread, other methods such as clamping and pole-wrapping can also be used. While these techniques have been practiced for centuries and are performed by highly experienced artisans, there is always an element of randomness and chance to the results. The subtle variations in shade and pattern are intrinsic to the beauty of the handmade pieces.
Batik, adire eleko, tsutsugaki, modrotlac
The use of paste or wax as a resist has developed in many cultures around the world. In the earliest forms, the patterns were created free hand by drawing the wax or paste onto the fabric. Such techniques can be seen in the finest Indonesian batiks and Japanese tsutsugaki. As textile printing developed, resists played a critical role in preventing dark colors from spreading into lighter areas. Several cultures developed techniques of printing the resist onto the fabric before dyeing. Achieving several colors on a textile demands repeated application of wax or paste before each submersion in the dye. Additional colors are created by overdyeing one color over another.
Ikat, jaspe, adras, kasuri
The word ikat derives from the Indonesian verb mengikat, which means “to bind, tie or wind around.” Clearly the word first applied to Indonesian textiles, but has come to be the general term used to describe any textile made with this technique. The method involves wrapping yarn with a resist before dyeing. When such yarn is woven, the resulting textile will be patterned. The elaborate Central Asian and Indonesian examples required repeated binding and dyeing to achieve the variety of colors and intricacy of design. The patterns created in ikats will have a characteristic raggedness around the edges. The patterns can be created on the warp or the weft, or both. When both the warp and the weft are patterned, the resulting textile is a double ikat.
March 2, 2012 - February 10, 2013
Higbee Gallery | Linda Öhrn-McDaniel
Concept, problem solving and material process are the fundamental starting points for all my creative work as a designer, artist and educator. The act of exploration and discovery consistently inspires me to create new ideas. Narrowing my field of options in theme or color expands the need to use craft technique, fit or surface design to solve creative issues within each garment. A primary example of this approach is the circles and hearts that feature prominently in this exhibition. The symbolic meanings and basic geometric shapes allow a wide variety of options to explore and help to reflect my…
LIFE, THOUGHTS & GARMENTS
November 18, 2011 - October 28, 2012
Alumni Gallery | Sara Hume, Curator
The image of women at the seaside in elegant white gowns was a popular subject for Impressionist painters. This exhibition explores the reality of summer tourism with a selection of actual garments of the style that would have been worn near and at the beach between 1865 and 1915. The practice of vacationing was once the exclusive domain of a wealthy elite and did not become accessible to the middle class until the mid-nineteenth century. At the same time that transportation and leisure time increased, so did the range of activities deemed acceptable. During the late nineteenth century, women’s participation in sports was hampered both by public notions of decency and fashionable clothing styles. Beaches were not yet for frolicking and sunbathing, but rather offered opportunities for strolling and taking in the sights. Although the garments on display in this exhibit might strike the modern eye as cumbersome and constricting, they represent the range of casual clothing options available during the period.
You refer to Annie’s mourning dresses. She wore black at the funeral, but so many deaths are now occurring at home and in the army, that black apparel is not so generally worn as formerly. It is not pleasant to wear somber black for long periods, and besides it is far costlier than before the war.
— Mrs. Thomas J Anderson to Mrs. James H Anderson. Marion Ohio, Dec 8, 1863
As Americans observe the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, the Kent State University Museum will present an exhibit about the material circumstances and domestic life during the Civil War and in the years that followed. Through the display of women’s and children’s costumes, which will be supplemented with related photographs, decorative arts and women’s magazines, the exhibit “On the Home Front: Civil War Fashions and Domestic Life” will focus on the daily life and experiences of the American civilian population during the Civil War. Far from being a simple trivial diversion during such a critical period, fashion provides a unique window into the lived experience of Americans who despite being far from the battlefields were deeply and immediately touched by the conflict.
Tarter/Miller, Palmer, and Mull Galleries | Sara Hume, Curator
What drives an individual to acquire ever more objects of a certain type? Some people collect out of a specific interest – Chinese art or first edition books. Others collect to fill their homes with beautiful things, things that demonstrate their taste and refinement. Once these collections find their way to museums, often their original coherence is lost. Rarely is the initial passion that first assembled the pieces documented – few collectors clearly record their motivations or even their personal memories connected to the objects. Museum exhibitions often aim to create a narrative about the function and production of the objects on display. However, part of the story of these objects involves their inclusion in a collection. This exhibition explores the peculiar phenomenon of collecting – this passion some people have to amass related objects.
Museums ultimately result from the desire to collect but their collections are not exactly comparable to those of individuals. When a private collection is absorbed into the larger collection of a museum, its original integrity and internal logic is obliterated in favor of the mission of the larger whole. While the original donor of each item is always acknowledged when the object is displayed, rarely is the coherence of the original collection evoked. Museums generally have clearly articulated guiding principles that govern what they collect: their mission. Integral to a museum’s mission is the educational purpose of the institution. A museum makes its collection available to the public through exhibitions formed of carefully selected items drawn from the larger whole.
In sharp contrast to a museum collection, rarely does the purpose of the private collection involve being viewed. For many collectors, the acquisition and possession of related objects is a goal in itself. In becoming part of the collection, the objects lose any meaningful function. Not only are they not used for their original purpose, but, in many instances, they do not even serve a decorative purpose. Collectors who amass too many objects often have no reasonable way to display their pieces. The objects must be stored in whatever space is available – such as in boxes and under beds. “Collectors and Collecting” aims to explore the peculiar qualities of individual collections.
April 8, 2011 - March 18, 2012
Stager and Blum Galleries | Noël Palomo-Lovinski, Guest Curator
The exhibition "Sustainable Fashion: Exploring the Paradox" is a comprehensive look at sustainable practices in fashion. The multi-billion dollar fashion industry is in a powerful position to make significant changes to the social and physical environment that we all live in. The problems in creating clothing are overwhelming and systemic in all facets of production, retail, maintenance and then disposal, causing a crisis for environmental concerns. The designers featured in this exhibition are approaching these problems in their work; offering design solutions that are both aesthetically pleasing and viable as a fashionable option to the status quo. Information will be provided about the environmental issues that the fashion industry is grappling with, as well as possible solutions for future designers to contemplate in their own work. The exhibition hopes to inform the general public and encourage everyone to re-think their clothing purchases for a more sustainably stylish future.
March 4, 2011 - February 12, 2012
Higbee Gallery | Vincent Quevedo
Our physical and emotional states are layers upon layers of independent planes stacked but separated in opaque and sometimes translucent elements that make up who we are. These layers build character that defines the uniqueness of an individual. Sometimes, these layers build a visual facade concealing internal elements. My work is about exposing the internal elements and revealing the parts that make the whole. My body of work is a unique blend of ideas and materials reflecting contemporary culture and my translations of it relative to the attitudes and reactions connected to emotions.
“Beyond Fashion: Fiber and Fashion Art by Vincent Quevedo” are pieces from my past collections that are not an attempt to persuade viewers to accept my personal ideologies, but to recognize and distinguish the power of clothing relative to beauty, intrigue, intimacy and complexity. Although wearable, their intent includes a theatrical presence demanding a certain level of attention beyond that of ordinary clothing or art. This compilation also examines the potential of clothing as a sculptural entity dependent on visual cues in space. This is not to say these pieces have no meaning, indeed they do, but the literal or abstract presentation I leave for the viewer to define. These pieces are not conceptual in idealization but realized with the assuredness of my skillful eyes and hands. Each one is meant to have a story and/or provoke you to make one up. It is this story, limited only by your imagination, that gives importance to these pieces.
Furthermore, I am interested in blurring the demarcation of art and fashion masterfully using texture, proportion and volume to articulate the substance and delineate the boundaries of my designs. My interests include dissecting components only to redefine and reconfigure them into another form that may have had some similarity to the original. I tend to defy current aesthetic values related to fashion while creating art. An important ingredient in my work is the relationship between the body and the material while exploring the space created between the two. It is about the body and the relationship it has to the environment and allowing it to be interpreted by others. I only present my interpretation of an ideal wearer that seems to have an answer to all questions but in reality only prods for new answers hence provoking questions that continue to be asked yet never answered. Art, like fashion, responds to so many challenges from the mundane to the thought provoking that leave you full of emotion. It is the past that feeds the soul while the present and future form the queries that trouble or intrigue us. It is my passion to respond with both doubt and confidence. Interrogated by self worth and existence I find the barriers to react less threatening than most. It is that realization that makes me react with such intensity and desire making my art sensual, sexual, and exaggerated. This compilation is a response to questions that are not answers, but just another way of asking questions the way I would ask.
November 19, 2010 - October 9, 2011
Alumni Gallery | Sara Hume, Curator
The Kent State University Museum’s collection of costumes is already one of the finest in the country, and it continues to grow and improve thanks to the generosity of our donors. The objects on display in the Alumni Gallery through October 2011 have all been given to the Museum since 2002 and have been selected because they attest to the great diversity and exceptional quality of the objects that are accepted into the collection.
This exhibition of new acquisitions coincides with the observance of Kent State University Museum’s 25th anniversary. While we look back and celebrate our first quarter century, we are also continuing to strengthen our holdings and present exhibitions that take advantage of the remarkable diversity and range of our collection. Just as the title says, these garments are all new, at least to us, and noteworthy.
The selections on view range from a man’s dressing gown and woman’s day dress, from the 1830s to a space suit from astronaut Carl Walz that he wore in the International Space Station. The items cover two centuries of clothing styles and include items as varied as children’s clothes, outerwear and military uniforms. In contrast with objects that come into collections through the intermediary of collectors or dealers, these recent acquisitions almost without exception have been donated by the original owners or their descendents. Thanks to such personal connections, the donors were able to supply the museum with stories of the clothing’s original function and, in some instances, even pictures of the original wearers.
October 2, 2010 - September 4, 2011
Broadbent Gallery | Jean L. Druesedow, Director
Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003)
Renowned actress, role model, fashion icon, outspoken, independent and feisty, Katharine Hepburn is listed by the American Film Institute as Hollywood's greatest screen legend. During a career that spanned six decades, Hepburn was nominated 12 times for Academy Awards as Best Actress and won four. Her sense of style influenced countless women, fashion designers, and the informal, elegant approach to American style seen on today's runways.
Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen
In 2008, the Kent State University Museum was honored to receive Katharine Hepburn's personal collection of film, stage and television costumes, as well as clothes worn by her for publicity purposes.
In celebration of the Museum's 25th anniversary year, Hepburn's performance clothes will be displayed in a very special exhibit including: stage costumes from The Philadelphia Story, Without Love and Coco; screen costumes from such classic films as Stage Door, Adam's Rib and Long Day's Journey Into Night; and many of her television movies, such as Love Among the Ruins. In addition, Hepburn's "signature look," an ensemble of tailored beige trousers and linen jackets, will be spotlighted, as will vintage posters, playbills, photos and other Hepburn-related artifacts.
The exhibit will also be supported by special events and programming on Hepburn's career, influence and life. These will take place at the Museum, across the Kent Campus and throughout Northeast Ohio.
This exhibition has received support from the following generous sponsors:
Time Warner Cable
April 21, 2010 - March 20, 2011
Stager and Blum Galleries | Sara Hume, Curator
The Kent State University Museum is proud to present this exhibition drawing from its extensive collection of clothing and textiles from India in order to highlight the dynamism, flexibility and variation of the nation's culture. Beyond the impressive assortment of historic garments, which are remarkable examples of "traditional" Indian dress, a sizable portion of the collection was produced in India for the Western market. These items include both those pieces designed to be sold in India for the tourist market, as well as a number of pieces, which, while produced in India, were intended for export to and sale in Europe or America.
Rather than simply explore the rich and varied textile traditions of India this exhibit aims to trace the complex influences that Indian textiles have had on fashions in Europe and America. While this exhibit concentrates on objects which were made in India, the cultural exchanges in the realm of textiles and clothing over the past two centuries have gone in both directions. Not only have Indian products and designs traveled to the West and served as enrichment and inspiration, Western designs and goods have, in turn, exerted an undeniable influence of their own.
The history of cultural exchange between India and the West is complicated by the colonial relationship between India and Great Britain from 1858 until 1947. Rather than a free exchange of goods and ideas, Britain hampered Indian production and trade through restrictions and taxation. Through the establishment of unequal conditions for the textile industries, the British stifled the handloom industry in India in favor of its own production of machine-woven cotton. Raw materials were imported from India to Britain where they were woven then re-exported back to India for sale. When Gandhi led the movement for nationalization, he chose hand-woven cotton as the symbol of national resistance. The simple, homespun cotton, known as khadi, which he wore for the rest of his life, embodied a symbolic resistance to British power, but the resulting boycott of British goods damaged the economy of the imperial power.
Textiles and clothing in India are more than striking representatives of the nation's creativity and ingenuity; they have played an integral role in the cultural, political and economic shifts that the nation has faced through the 20th century. The array of items selected for this exhibition demonstrates the reciprocal exchange of goods and styles that occurred between India and the West, but moreover attests to the central role that textiles have had in this oftentimes fraught relationship.
March 11, 2010 - February 13, 2011
Higbee Gallery | Jean L. Druesedow, Director
Two Hundred Fifty Years of Fashion, Twenty Five Years of Collecting
A survey of taste in silhouette, fabric and trimmings readily reveals enormous diversity. Over the centuries fashion choices have reflected relationships to an array of aesthetic and cultural environments. These choices register individual attitudes to prevailing social mores and reactions to a given artistic sensibility. The clothes we choose to wear when dressing each day become one of our most significant means of communicating who we are and how we feel. Collections of historic and fashionable dress, like that held by the Kent State University Museum, provide a very intimate record of personal choice and give insight into the unique ways individuals have responded to over-arching aesthetic trends.
On September 27, 1985, the Kent State University Museum opened its doors to the public for the first time. One of the nation's finest private collections of costume was given to establish the museum -- the donation of fashion industry entrepreneurs Jerry Silverman and Shannon Rodgers. It included 4000 fashionable and traditional costumes, 1000 objects of decorative art and 5000 volumes for the library. Since that time the collection has grown to 40,000 artifacts. Well over one million people have visited the museum in person, on the Web, or seen our name on objects loaned to exhibitions worldwide. Donors have enriched our collection and our endowment throughout the quarter century of our existence, and we are especially grateful for their continuing support. We embrace our mission to collect, exhibit, interpret and preserve the artifacts entrusted to us and to bring to the university and the greater community exhibitions that demonstrate the artistry and diversity of the world's peoples.